The Red Cross is in the middle of a busy fall disaster season. From wildfires to hurricane relief, local volunteers have been deployed all over the country. But before they're able to help, there's training many must go through.
"We've had to make a lot of adaptations. We had a pretty robust online training library so there were some specific trainings we had to update," said Peter Brown of the PA Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, those trainings look a little different. Skills like CPR, first aid, and sheltering are now being taught online.
"We have two separate modules that anybody who's going to deploy and work in a shelter must go through and they're all about the new procedures and processes and requirements for providing safe sheltering in a COVID environment," said Brown.
Local emergency responders have also adapted to a virtual way of learning.
"We have to be more illustrative and a little more detailed in our topics and what we're talking about to get the point across," said Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County's EMA director.
Carbon County Emergency Management is now running courses about handling hazardous materials and basic firefighter training online.
"All the things that keep the responders safe on scene," said Nalesnik.
Directors say as restrictions ease, they have started doing some things in-person again, learning how to gather safely in small groups.
"With social distancing within confined areas, making sure we're far enough apart and the mandatory wearing a mask," said Nalesnik.
But even after the pandemic fades, they believe virtual learning will not.
"Even after we're finished with the pandemic issue, I see virtual conferences and Zoom meetings and things like that still being a major part of what we do on a regular basis because they're pretty successful," said Nalesnik.